Some 240 Ghanaians arrived in the country from Kuwait over the weekend after the government agreed to a request by the Kuwaiti government to return some Ghanaians living in that country.
The returnees were on board a Kuwait Aircraft which arrived at the Kotoka International Airport on Saturday at 1:30pm from the Gulf State.
Also on board the flight were 43 Togolese nationals en route to their home country.
Prior to their arrival, they were tested for COVID-19 in Kuwait and confirmed negative.
They were welcomed by the Minister of Aviation, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda; a Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Charles Owiredu; a Deputy Minister of National Security, Mr Henry Quartey; and the Chief Legal Advisor of Operation COVID-19 Safety Committee, Mr Dickson Osei Bonsu.
They will then undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine or isolation, depending on the test results.
In an interview with the media, Mr Osei Bonsu noted that the Ghanaian nationals are not deportees, but returnees, clarifying comments which had claimed they were deportees.
“Those who have returned are persons that were stranded at Kuwait, calling for help to be brought back home. We have a few deportees among them but the right word to use is ‘returnees that have been repatriated home’,” Mr Osei Bonus clarified.
At a press briefing last week, the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, had said that the move did not in any way reverse the government’s decision on international air travels.
“We are still analysing the data on the number of Ghanaians who are stranded outside and we will treat them on a cohort by cohort basis, should there be a need to evacuate them, provided it poses no risk to the Ghanaian public,” he said.
“So far, the number of Ghanaians who have given us information on their status are in their thousands and are scattered across the globe, but we have not made any firm decision on evacuating them yet,” the Information Minister added.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah indicated that, in line with standard protocols, all the returnees would be mandatorily quarantined and tested for COVID-19 upon arrival.
According to him, the National Security, in collaboration with the military, Immigration and Police services have been directed to enforce the mandatory quarantine while officials of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) have been detailed to conduct testing and treatment.
“Deportees who test positive will be supported with treatment. Those who test negative will remain in quarantine for a second test at the end of the 14-day quarantine period.”
The cost of quarantine and treatment, the Minister noted, would be borne by government.
He pointed out that the deportees would be received and handled in line with immigration regulations to ascertain circumstances under which they stayed in Kuwait illegally.